Dubai: The ‘buy now, pay later’ trend has now reached the UAE’s healthcare sector.
Nabta Health, which offers its medical services exclusively for women, has tied up with tabby, the platform that provides users the option to pay for services on an installment basis and on zero interest (unlike credit card providers.)
For Nabta, tabby’s payment plan will enable clients to access the medical services they need via the healthcare provider’s app. “Someone’s financial position can be the difference between getting the treatment they need or not," said Hosam Arab, CEO of tabby.
Basket of services
The feature will be available to all members of Nabta Health, who will now get "customised installment plans". This way they pay what they can afford and take care of their health needs at the same time. Products in Nabta Health’s marketplace will include: diagnostic devices, routine blood tests, prenatal and postpartum packages (including doula services), as well curated health and wellness options.
Versions of the BNPY schemes have been around in the US and the more digitally connected Asian markets. But in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, it was in the weeks and months immediately after COVID-19 struck that the buy-on-instalment scheme took off. Retailers, including some of the big names in the business, have aligned with the likes of tabby and other service providers.
The biggest plus for the consumer is the absence of interest rate charges on the instalments. The schemes invariably come with zero interest, and the BNPY provider makes its margins through the arrangements with the retailer or service provider.
More niche healthcare providers could expand the scope of BNPY schemes, allowing easier access to medical services that do not come under insurance coverage. If this happens, BNPY platforms will have broken into two of the leading consumer-focussed sectors - retail and health.
"If COVID-19 pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that we need to improve population health – by reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases and boosting our collective immunity," said Sophie Smith, CEO of Nabta. "That starts by making it easier for individuals to make the right healthcare decisions – in terms of identifying and managing health conditions and concerns – for themselves and their families.”